Ons werk aan de SDG's

A Natural Filter for Water

Reducing the environmental footprint by using naturally clean water

Clean water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development and critical to the survival of people and the planet. In order to contribute to sustainable development in Oman, Shell together with BAUER Resources launched an innovative and successful environmental stewardship project, the Nimr reed beds.

At the Nimr oilfields in Oman, thousands of barrels of oil are produced every day. Only a tenth of the liquid brought to the surface is actually oil. The rest is water, which must be cleaned and disposed of. In the Omani desert, reed beds are being used to naturally clean the water that is produced.

With a new technique using reed beds we are able to purify the water before it evaporates naturally beneath the desert sun. The reed bed facility is a four-tier gravity-based wetland design. After separating water from oil, traces of oil remain in the water. To remove these we use this new technique. So, how does this work? Gravity pulls the water downhill through about one and a half kilometers of reeds. The reeds act as filters, removing traces of oil from the water. As it passes through, the oil sticks to the reeds, and is eaten by natural microbes living on the plants. By the time it reaches the bottom of the fields, the water is 99.5% pure, and can be left to evaporate safely in the sun.

A plant like this could reduce energy consumption for water purification to almost zero. (Roman Breuer, BAUER Resources).

With the Nimr Water Treatment Plant (NWTP) we are able to reduce our environmental footprint. Thanks to this unique natural process the water taken from the beds is pure enough to be used for drilling new wells, which saves pumping clean water from shallow aquifers.

The reed bed project has generated a huge amount of interest both within the oil and gas sector and wider environmental community. Many international awards were given to the project, amongst the prestigious Global Water Award presented in 2011 by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.


Since the start of the project, 30,000 barrels of oil have been recovered from the produced water stream, without using energy and limiting the environmental footprint of our oil production.

Meer informatie over het project ›
Lead Organisation


Lead business line
Projects & Technology


Totaal budget

Strategic Partners
BAUER Resources

Impact on primary SDG

Impact on other SDGs

Targeted Region of execution

Start date
januari 2011
End date

Targeted Beneficiaries
Number Beneficiaries
Point of contact
Susan Kimkes
Senior External Relations Advisor